John Goodman ‘Surprised’ by ABC’s Reaction to Roseanne Barr’s Tweet: Defends Her, Says ‘She’s Not a Racist’. Controversy and Support Spark Debate

In a new interview, Goodman says he was “very depressed” when ABC canceled Roseanne over Roseanne Barr’s racist tweet

Premiere Of ABC's "Roseanne" - Arrivals

Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty

While many supported ABC’s decision to pull the plug on Roseanne after Roseanne Barr likened former Barack Obama advisor Valerie Jarrett to an “ape” on Twitter, her costar John Goodman didn’t have quite the same reaction.

In a new interview with U.K. newspaper The Times, Goodman opened up about the hit show’s cancellation, admitting he was “surprised” by the network’s reaction to Barr’s tweet. (“Roseanne’s Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show,” president of ABC Entertainment Channing Dungey said in a statement at the time.)

“I’ll put it this way, I was surprised at the response,” he said. After a pause, according to The Times, he said, “And that’s probably all I should say about it.”

After another pause, he added: “I know, I know, for a fact that she’s not a racist.”

Barr, 65, who deleted her original tweet, has since offered several defenses for her choice of words, including insisting she was misunderstood, under the influence of Ambien, and didn’t know Jarrett is black.

Regardless, Goodman, 66, said he was devastated by the show ending.

“I was broken-hearted, but I thought, ‘OK, it’s just show business, I’m going to let it go,’ ” he said. “But I went through a period, about a month, where I was very depressed. I’m a depressive anyway, so any excuse that I can get to lower myself, I will. But that had a great deal to do with it, more than I wanted to admit.”

Barr ultimately agreed to walk away from the show to make room for a spinoff series, which will focus on Sara Gilbert‘s Darlene Conner and see the return of Goodman and Laurie Metcalf.

“She had to sign a paper saying that she relinquished all her rights to the show so that we could go on. I sent her an email and thanked her for that,” Goodman told The Times when asked if he’s kept in touch with the actress at all.

“I did not hear anything back, but she was going through hell at the time,” he continued. “And she’s still going through hell.”

Goodman also recalled how he and Barr hit it off at their first audition.

“We laughed our rear ends off,” he said. “My whole existence was to see if I could get her to wet her pants.”

As for the rumors that he sometimes found her confrontational behavior so frustrating he would have to walk off set? “She was a force of nature when it came to getting what she wanted,” he said.

Last but not least, Goodman addressed whether the two became good friends over the years, telling The Times: “We were work friends.”

Barr addressed the controversy an interview with Fox News’ Sean Hannity last month, admitting she “made a mistake.”

“I’ve apologized a lot. It’s been two months. I’ve apologized and explained and asked for forgiveness,” she said. “I was so sad that people thought [the tweet] was racist. And I went into the whole discussion of racism and that blew my mind because it was so much what the show I was doing was about. Why couldn’t they see my work?”

She added, “I didn’t [know better]. I made a mistake. It cost me everything, my life’s work. I wish I worded it better.”

Addressing the camera, Barr said she wanted to “turn this into a teachable moment.”

“We need to talk about race and everything that’s connected to it. Her skin tone is like mine and I’m brown,” she said. “I didn’t know she was African-American. I assumed because she was from Iran and she lived in Iran for such a long time.”

“If she’s watching, I’m so sorry you thought I was racist and you thought that my tweet was racist because it wasn’t,” she continued. “It was political. I’m sorry for the misunderstanding that caused my ill-worded tweet. I’m sorry that you feel harmed and hurt, I never meant that. For that, I apologize. I never meant to hurt anybody or say anything negative about an entire race of people. My 30 years of work can attest to that.”

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